More challenging ideas from Chateau Stross (or should that be Schloss Stross?) – he’s not the first to frame the corporation as a non-human entity with an alarming degree of power and control over human affairs, but – given the current economic and political climate – it’s a conversation worth revisiting.
We are now living in a global state that has been structured for the benefit of non-human entities with non-human goals. They have enormous media reach, which they use to distract attention from threats to their own survival. They also have an enormous ability to support litigation against public participation, except in the very limited circumstances where such action is forbidden. Individual atomized humans are thus either co-opted by these entities (you can live very nicely as a CEO or a politician, as long as you don’t bite the feeding hand) or steamrollered if they try to resist.
In short, we are living in the aftermath of an alien invasion.
The comment thread is fantastic reading too, but very long; set aside an hour or so to really dig into it properly.
These days, we’re living in the world of the imperial, very self-interested individual; the man in the gray flannel suit has been replaced by the man in the very expensive Armani suit. Look at the protagonists in the global financial meltdown, and you won’t see faceless corporations subverting individual will; you’ll see avaricious individuals exploiting corporate forms to enrich themselves, often bringing the corporations down in the process. Lehman, AIG, Anglo-Irish, etc. were not cases of immortal hive-minds at work; they were cases of kleptocrats run wild.
And when it comes to the subversion of the political process — yes, there are faceless corporations in the mix, but the really dastardly players have names and large individual fortunes; Koch brothers, anyone?
I find myself somewhat on the fence here, principally because I’m painfully aware that I know enough about economics to know that I don’t know enough about economics. I’m not sure that the corporation as a concept is inherently bad, but I’m very sure that the current protectionist set-up is a root cause of many of our current problems, at both the global and local scales.
What do you think?